Friday, August 28, 2009

Comic Exhibition Taipei 2009 -- Cosplay Gallery

Due to various reasons, I didn't have enough time to sort out cosplayer pictures taken during Comic Exhibition Taipei 2009 until yesterday. Now they can be found at this album (including two members of Taipei City Council).

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Comic Exhibition Taipei 2009 -- Interview of seiyū Toshiyuki Morkiawa

Toshiyuki Morikawa, who played Tyki Mikk in D.Gray-man, Ryuichiro Isaka in Junjō Romantica, among many other roles, arrived at Comic Exhibition Taipei 2009 on August 15. In addition to numerous anime and radio/CD drama characters, Mr. Morikawa also dubs Japanese voices for many Hollywood stars, including Keanu Reeves in The Matrix trilogy, Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible trilogy, and Ewan Mcgregor in the Star Wars prequel trilogy.

For the complete interview in English, please visit Anime News Network.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Comic Exhibition Taipei 2009 -- Interview of Riichiro Inagaki & Yusuke Murata, Creators of Eyeshield 21

Riichirō Inagaki (center) and Yūsuke Murata (2nd from right), creators of Eyeshield 21, were invited to attend the 10th Comic Exhibition at Taipei on August 15 and give an autograph session. Like all other guests of the Exhibition, the two donated an autographed signboard to the charity auction, which raised money for the relief effort aimed at the victims of Taiwan's worst flood in 50 years.

For the complete interview in English, please visit Anime News Network.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Comic Exhibition Taipei 2009 -- combined autograph session of three Reborn! seiyū

The two-day weekend is when highest number of con-goers attend Comic Exhibition Taipei. Most popular events are often scheduled on the weekend as well. Not surprisingly, I stayed at the convention hall for two full days in order to cover those events. The first one on Saturday morning was a combined autograph session of three Katekyo Hitman Reborn! seiyū: Hidekazu Ichinose (as Hayato Gokudera), Suguru Inoue (as Takeshi Yamamoto), and Takashi Kondo (as Kyouya Hibari). While the original manga of Reborn! is serialized in Tong Li's Formosa Youth (licensed version of Shueisha's Weekly Shōnen Jump), the majority of its fans are young girls, way more celebrity-worshiping than boys at the same age. The fence surrounding the stage area had been crushed five times due to overcrowding.

Soon after the main gate had opened, all major routes to Stage A was completely blocked by the crowd.

Quite a few cosplayers are among the crowd.

The spectators have filled every square inches in front of Stage A.

Some fans spent a great deal of effort to build this hand-made message board to show their devotion.

MC tossing giveaway souvenirs to the crowds in order to heat up the atmosphere.

The three finally arrived!

Hidekazu Ichinose, who has a quite athletic body, appeared on the stage in cheers and screams.

Followed by Takashi Kondo with sweet smiles.

Finally, the cool-looking Suguru Inoue.

Before the autograph session starts, the three seiyū played some mini-games with their fans. Those who answered their questions correctly would receive prizes couldn't be found elsewhere, such as this wristband taken off directly from seiyū.

Ichinose-san wear the wristband on this lucky fan who answered the question correctly.

The fan proudly showing her spoil.

The prize of the second question was a ring; Inoue-san put the ring on her middle finger rather than ring finger, probably due to size and her safety.

Ichinose-san and Kondo-san started playing with those environmental-friendly shopping bags before giving them away. Fans cheered "Kawaii!"

All three seiyū were very friendly and shook hands with each and every fan.

Three luckiest fans were picked randomly to pose for photo with all three seiyū.

Unfortunately, due to overcrowding fans, they couldn't finished the quota (200 fans) in time, and they had to move to another room in order to finish signing for the last 50 fans.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Daily Brief -- Comic Exhibition Taipei 2009 Day 3

I managed to reach there on the third day, yet I still couldn't catch the autograph session of Yūko Aoki, author of Victorian Rose Tailor (sigh).

While I haven't read Victorian Rose Tailor personally, judging from the introduction (and title) it's a classical romantic story with lots of detailed descriptions on formal dress and gown. Cosplaying readers posed with Aoki-sensei in the picture above.

Similar to yesterday, there was only one autograph session in the afternoon, which was of Hideaki Fujii, author of Battle Spirits: Shōnen Toppa Version.

This is a multi-platform merchandise that has two anime and a card game; the first anime version has been licensed by Muse Communication; however, it's a pity that due to limited time Muse couldn't release its first DVD at Comic Exhibition. The card game has been licensed, and a tournament was held. Fujii-sensei was asked to present the award to the best three players.

The reason Fujii-sensei became a mangaka was quite special: he determined to become one after watching the popular anime Neon Genesis Evangelion, for he wanted to illustrate something that makes people ponder and change the world. Now he's still working hard to achieve this goal.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Daily Brief -- Comic Exhibition Taipei 2009 Day 2

My second day was far worse than the first: due to a sudden mission, my planned schedule was completely screwed and couldn't even allow me to go to the convention hall; all interviewing and photography opportunities were lost. I could only compensate with press release photographs.

The first autograph session was illustrator and character designer Akemi Takada. Her Urusei Yatsura, Maison Ikkoku, and Pierrot's Magical Girl series (notably Magical Angel Creamy Mami) were all masterpieces. Takada-sensei volunteered to donate an artwork for charity auction; the revenue will be donated to flood relief efforts. Chinese Comic Publishers Association (CCPA), organizer of Comic Exhibition Taipei, immediately coordinated all foreign and domestic guests to join the effort, with unanimous positive reply. In fact, back in March 2000 when Takada-sensei visited Taiwan for the first time, she donated an artwork for 921 Earthquake, which was sold for a stunning NT$280,000. The price of the 2009 artwork has been raised to NT$26,900 while I'm writing this article. Other charity auction items can be found at here.

Kei Sazane, author of light novel Tasogareiro no Uta Tsukai, joined the flood relief efforts.

Riku Ranjo, author of light novel Akikan!, posed for a photo with Melon, the female protagonist of his novel.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Comic Exhibition Taipei 2009 -- Katsumi Nishino autograph session

The first event I could cover was the autograph session of Katsumi Nishino, author of Kanokon novel. Before the autograph session started, I took the opportunity to ask a few questions to Nishino-sensei.

Q: Kanokon has two female protagonists, and Chizuru is older (human-age speaking) than Kōta; why did you design such background setting?
A: Personally, I prefer girls slightly elder than myself, and I thought "it would be great if a girl like Chizuru can be at my side."

Q: Do you think yourself are similar to the male protagonist (Kōta) in some way?
A: Not at all, but I really envy him.

Q: Do you have a specific preference to girls with kemonomimi (animal ears)?
A: Yes! I like kemonomimi very much, and that's why I wrote the story in this way.

Q: Fans of your book are divided: some want you to stop this "suggestive" style of writing, yet the other want you write in a more erotic manner. What is your personal opinion on this and how will you continue writing?
A: I respect opinions of both, but I just can't resist writing ecchi scenes, so I can only say sorry to the more conservative readers (laugh).

Q: What was your original target audience? Surprisingly, the novel is very popular among grade schoolers; how do you see this?
A: The target readership was set to be junior to senior high schoolers. I'm surprised to know I've got grade schooler readers; is this story really okay for them? I feel a bit apologetic to their parents.

Q: Have you watched the anime version? If so, what do you think about it?
A: Yes, I've watched it all, and I think it has adapted perfectly. I believe readers of my book would think the same when they watch the anime.

Q: What did you think when you saw Koin-sensei's illustration for the first time? Was there any difference from your design?
A: There were minor differences, but overall the illustration simply looked wonderful.

Q: How and why did you pick Koin-sensei as the illustrator?
A: In fact we didn't group together by our own; rather, editors of the publishing company thought Koin-sensei's artistic style suited my story, and I agree with them after seeing Koin-sensei's samples.

Q: Is this your first autograph session and first time abroad?
A: Yes, both my firsts.

Q: Do you think it's a great thing to be a novelist?
A: That's right! It's absolutely wonderful!

When Nishino-sensei was still at the backstage, fans were gathering in front of the stage area. Some stayed awake overnight in order to grab the 150 autograph eligibility.

Behold, the spoil of war: life-size pillows featuring Chizuru, exclusive for Comic Exhibition Taipei 2009.

Sensei has appeared on the stage! Two cute cosplayers dressed as Chizuru and Nozomu accompanied him. What a lucky guy.

Because Koin-sensei was not able to visit Taiwan in person, he illustrated an exclusive picture for the signing board, plus a signature with mini-Chizuru.

Nishino-sensei is not shy to pose for photo with his fans.

At the end of the autograph session, sensei left his autograph at the picture wall behind the stage.

MC asked, "whom would you choose if you were Kōta?" Nishino-sensei replied, "it's too difficult to choose between them, so I want both!"